Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Batch 1 - Oatmeal Stout

My first batch!

I chose to start with an Oatmeal Stout because I read it was a good place to start. Easy to make and hard to do wrong, and tasty!

For simplicity I also decided to use a LME ( Liquid Malt Extract ) and grain kit.

I bought the kit from my local Home Brew shop Homebrew Pro Shoppe

***Note, I lost this batch. It never completely got carbonated, and it had a sour apple taste that made it undrinkable. I believe that the culprit was bacterial from the process I used to remove the labels from the bottle not rinsing completely.

The contents of the kit are below:
- 2x 3.3lb Briess Traditional Dark Malt Extract
-1lb Flaked Oats
-4oz. Briess Crushed Crystal 60 Malt
-8oz. Muntons Crushed Roasted Barley
-1oz. Kent Goldings Hopps ( bittering )
-1oz. Fuggle Hopps( finishing )
-5oz. Priming Sugar
-1 sachet Muntons Ale Yeast

Step 1
One day before brew day I started a Yeast Starter to make sure the yeast was viable.

-Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and added 5 oz of DME( Dry alt Extract ). Boil for 10 min.
-Cool the solution to 80 degrees and pitch the yeast.
-Let stand in a cool dry place for 24 hours.

Things I learned:
- Put the container in a secondary container in case your yeast bubbles over the top! In my case I used an Erlenmeyer flask and covered it in foil I had cleaned with Star-san, and then placed the flask in a mixing bowl.









Step 2
-Pour two gallons of drinking water into a 5 gallon stainless steel pot. Place the grain and oatmeal in a grain steeping bag, and place in the pot.
-Heat the water to 170 degrees while allowing the grain to steep.
-At 170 degrees, remove the grain bag and allow to drain. I have heard not to squeeze the bag so I did not but I am not sure if this is because it may burst or because it affected the taste or chemistry of the beer.
-Put the pot back on the heat and bring to a rolling boil.


Step 3
-Clean and sanitize your wort chiller( optional equipment )
-Once you have a full rolling boil, remove the pot from the heat and add the LME.
-STIR WELL BEFORE PLACING BACK ON THE STOVE. If you dont you may scorch the LME and ruin your beer and your pot!
-Return to heat and bring back to a full boil.
-Check your watch and note the time.
-Add the Bittering Hops.
-Do not leave your pot. Stir frequently and do not allow it to boil over. Do not use the lid of the pot.
-At the 45 minute mark, you can place your wort chiller into the pot to make sure it is sanitized by the boil. Make sure the ends of the hose are in the sink in case there is any water left from the previous brew day. It will be pushed out and it will be hot!
-Boil for 55 minutes.
-Add the finishing Hops.
-Boil for 5 more minutes.
-Total boil is 60 minutes.
-Remove from heat and remove the hops.

Step 4
-Cool the wort to 80 degrees. You can do this with an ice bath or a wort chiller ( pictured ). The faster you can chill the wort the less opportunity for contamination.
-Once the wort is cool, pour it into your primary fermentation vessel and top off the wort to 5 gallons with clean water.
-Take a hydrometer reading and record it. For this beer it was 1.051.
-Pitch the yeast.
-Shake the wort for several minutes to aerate and disperse the yeast.
-Seal your fermentation vessel and insert the air lock.
-Place the wort in a dark place and let it bubble for a week.
-Clean and stow all of your brewing equipment.





Notes on the fermentation process
The airlock should start to bubble in a few hours and continue for a few days. Don't worry if it slows or even stops, as the process is still going on.

Resist the urge to open the vessel and check it. Trust the beer!


A week later and its time to move the brew to the secondary fermentation vessel.

This took about 30 minutes but was pretty easy and made little mess.

Let the brew sit in the secondary vessel until it reaches its finished gravity.

In this case it was 1.020. Perfect!










After a week in the secondary fermentation vessel, it was time to bottle. I used 3.5 oz of priming sugar boiled for 10 minutes in 2 cups of water. I let the priming sugar solution cool and then racked the beer into the bottling bucket. This is just like the fermentation vessel, but has a spigot on the bottom that you attach your bottling gear to.

Fill the bottles to the top and when the stick is pulled out it is just about the right amount of beer.

Capping is laborious work and I am grateful that my wife volunteered to help! What would have been a 2 hour job was just under an hour.





I ended up with 48 bottles which I labeled and sat in a closed storage container to bottle condition in case I had any explode.

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